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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Tinapasilog, Peruvian roast chicken, and more

An outdoor seating area with mural on a wall to the left and customers seated at a table to the right.
A wall mural reading Mabuhay (“may you live”) commemorates Philippine health care workers and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic, now inside the Amazing Grace outdoor enclosure.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is dizzying — even during a pandemic — yet mediocre meals somehow keep worming their way into our lives. With Eater editors dining out sometimes several times a day, we do come across lots of standout dishes, and we don’t want to keep any secrets. Check back weekly for the best things we ate this week — so you can, too.


March 29

In the foreground on a white plate, a whole fish head and all browned from smoking, with an array of dishes around it.
Tinapasilog at Amazing Grace
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tinapasilog at Amazing Grace

When Krystal’s Cafe and Bakery closed late in 2019 there was lots of hand wringing, since this busy corner right on Roosevelt Avenue was an anchor of Woodside’s Filipino community, and one of its oldest restaurants. No worries, though, because the space was soon taken over by successor establishment Amazing Grace, offering a similar broad-ranging menu of Filipino food, including barbecue, stews, soups, baked goods, and the wonderful all-day composite breakfasts with the suffix “-silogs.” My favorite on a recent visit was tinapasilog ($11.20), consisting of a pair of runny poached eggs, garlic fried rice, slices of Asian eggplant, a chopped fresh tomato relish strikingly like pico de gallo (Mexico and the Philippines were both once Spanish colonies), and an entire smoked bangús, or milkfish, the archipelago’s favorite swimmer. A saucer of soy-vinegar with shallots comes on the side. This plate of food makes a magnificent brunch any day of the week, with its smoky, mellow, oily, toasted garlic, and sour flavors. 69-02 Roosevelt Avenue, at 69th Street, Woodside Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Roast chicken at Pio Pio 8

Folks often talk about the joys of supermarket roast chicken, but I prefer the affordable wonders of Pio Pio, the Peruvian chain with an outpost near my Hell’s Kitchen flat. One day, I’ll certainly sample the wider selection of dishes — the restaurant offers grilled anticucho skewers, creamy aji de gallina, and stir-fried lomo saltado — but on a recent weeknight I just needed some solid fowl ($10) and fries ($6). Pio Pio, rest assured, came through. The half-bird was about what one might expect from a high-performing rotisserie: tender flesh throughout, with a layer of skin that was at times vaguely crisp, yet also wonderfully gelatinous and packing a concentrated poultry punch. The fries were soggy, which wasn’t a problem, as I just wanted something starchy to dip into the garlicky aji verde sauce. 604 10th Avenue, near 44th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

An egg and cheese sandwich from Daily Provisions
Egg and cheese sandwich from Daily Provisions
Bao Ong / Eater New York

Egg and cheese sandwich at Daily Provisions

My sweet tooth has often led me to Daily Provisions for a cruller, but it’s been more than a year since I stepped foot into the original location just steps from Union Square. I finally made it back this weekend after a quick stroll through the farmers market and am happy to report the crullers are good as ever. A special coffee cruller didn’t disappoint — it was perfectly fluffy with a sprinkling of dark chocolate espresso beans on top. But I was starving and also ordered the egg and cheese sandwich ($6) for the first time. Now I have yet another reason to come back: the Portuguese roll with poppyseeds was like a fancy comforter swaddling the runny eggs with gooey white American cheese. I scarfed it down as quickly as the cruller itself. It’s funny how a breakfast sandwich can make things feel like they’re slowly getting back to normal. 103 East 19th Street, between Park Avenue South and Irving Place, Gramercy —Bao Ong, editor

A plate of the Czech dish svickova, which has a brownish sauce and comes with a side of whipped cream and reddish berry-like jam and a slice of lemon
Svíčková at Bohemian Spirit
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Svíčková at Bohemian Spirit

I feel like I ate — or at least wanted to eat — svíčková every day during my last visit to the Czech Republic back in early 2019. So I’m happy to report that I found a version just as good as the many I ate in the Czech Republic at Upper East Side restaurant Bohemian Spirit. Svíčková typically features sirloin steak cooked in a rich, creamy sauce of root vegetables like carrots and celeriac with spices like black pepper and juniper berries. At Bohemian Spirit, the dish ($24) is served with the traditional dollop of whipped cream and cranberry sauce along with a side of houskové knedlíky, the pillowy Czech bread dumplings that are perfect to sop up the sauce. Bohemian Spirit’s version of svíčková had tender pieces of meat, a generous serving of the luxurious sauce, and enough dumplings that this dish could easily feed two. I’m glad I didn’t have to share it, though. 321 East 73rd Street, between First and Second Avenue, Upper East Side — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

March 22

White soup with white mushroom and spoon lifting a piece of white chicken out.
Tom Kha Gai at Maison Bangkok

Tom Kha Gai at Maison Bangkok

Rarely does one have the chance to taste lemongrass in its purest form. On a first visit to this Thai Upper East Sider with a highfalutin name, I ordered the tom kha gai ($6) intending to use it as a palate cleanser, and actually enjoyed it as much or more than the other excellent offerings, and it was soon slurped down. The broth is fortified with mushrooms, chicken breast, and coconut milk generating a ghostly white color as the scent of lemongrass climbs up your nostrils even before the soup hits your tongue. At Maison Bangkok, a friend and I also enjoyed a chicken larb and som tom papaya salad, as well as shrimp fried in phyllo with a sweet-tart dipping sauce. This place is evidence that good Thai food is now available in neighborhoods all over town. 355 East 78th Street, between First and Second avenues, Upper East Side Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A six-inch burnt coffee cheesecake from the Egg Suite
Burnt coffee cheesecake from the Egg Suite
Bao Ong / Eater New York

Burnt coffee cheesecake at The Egg Suite

I first encountered Aerin Wong’s desserts last fall when friends and I ordered from Pecking House, the incredibly popular fried chicken concept from former Eleven Madison Park sous chef Eric Huang. In a surprising twist, Wong’s peanut butter-filled brownies were just as big of a hit as the savory dishes. So when I learned the former tech marketer turned stay-at-home mom behind the Egg Suite was selling Basque-style cheesecakes, my sweet tooth took over (I’m still thinking about those brownies months later). I ordered a six-inch burnt coffee cheesecake over Instagram for an upcoming dinner with my pod and the one-week wait was worth it: The chilled cake had a fluffy and silky texture beneath the caramelized top with just a hint of coffee. We finished the entire dessert in about the same time it took me to find the Egg Suite on Venmo and pay $28 (it’s $8 more for delivery in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn). I can’t wait for Wong’s next creation. — Bao Ong, editor

Rigatoni with spicy pork ragu at 2 Spring

After spending a few days out of town in a place where the food wasn’t terribly good, I needed something to celebrate being back in the tri-state area. For me, that was takeout from 2 Spring, the Oyster Bay restaurant where Jesse Schenker plies his fine trade. The chef, who once ran the Gander and Recette, in the city now puts out some of Long Island’s top fine dining dishes — including king crab fondue with black truffle butter — but I was in the mood for something simpler on Saturday. I was craving pasta. So I picked up a sizable portion of rigatoni ($27) from 2 Spring. Schenker forges his porky ragu from heady aromatics and a hint of chile, though he also adds a nice dose of bone marrow for richness. With the al dente noodles, it is as much a technical affair as it is a rib-sticking indulgence. Though I added a bit of my own Calabrian chile oil to pump up the heat, which is something I do for pretty much any takeout dish these days. 2 Spring Street, near Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, Long IslandRyan Sutton, chief critic

Two pork ribs set in a white sauce on a dark circular plate
Iberian pork ribs at El Born
Erika Adams/Eater

Iberian pork ribs at El Born

I spent the first day of spring luxuriating in the backyard at Spanish restaurant El Born, where my companions and I spent hours eating our way through a stellar lineup of tapas on Saturday night. While there were many high notes, the Iberican pork ribs ($14), served boneless and set in a pool of creamy potato and Idiazabal cheese puree, was the standout dish of the evening. The fatty pork fell apart at the touch of a fork, and each bite felt as decadent as eating a slice of warm chocolate cake. By the end of the night, I could not stop exclaiming in joy about two things: That pork, and the fact that outdoor dining now only requires a light jacket. 651 Manhattan Avenue, near Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint — Erika Adams, reporter

March 15

A giant beef rib, bone sticking out, nearly concealed in a brown sauce.
Short ribs at Ruta Oaxaca

Short ribs at Ruta Oaxaca

Gradually, great Oaxacan food — often reputed to be the best in Mexico — has crept into New York City. While we’ve seen antojitos and tlayudas in abundance, the final frontier has been its moles, complex combinations of multiple dried and fresh chiles, nuts, herbs, tomatillos, fruits, and seeds (often of pre-Columbian vintage) requiring hours or even days of preparation, hence their scarcity on menus. Now, Astoria has produced our newest restaurant from Mexico’s southern Pacific state: Ruta Oaxaca (“Oaxaca Road”). Several moles grace the menu, including this mole coloradito (“little red mole”), which engulfs a massive beef rib ($26.95). Incorporating ancho chiles, tomatoes, and raisins for a shimmering lightness, mole coloradito is also sweet, perfectly complementing the coarse texture of the rib. Sharing the plate are globes of fried potato and pear puree, with bowls of white rice and black beans on the side. 35-03 Broadway, between 35th and 36th streets, Astoria Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Three corn tortillas filled with shredded brown pieces of beef, cilantro, and onions
Three taco combo at Casa Birria
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Three taco combo at Casa Birria

I’m convinced after my most recent consumption of birria tacos that I should make it a once-a-week affair, if not more. This past weekend, I checked out Casa Birria, a food truck parked at the corner of East 86th Street and Third Avenue, right in front of the Ulta Beauty store. The three taco combo ($10) features lightly crisped corn tortillas stuffed with tender, shredded pieces of beef from the birria, topped with crunchy, finely chopped onions, a mildly spicy salsa roja, and a sprinkling of cilantro. My husband and I got a cup of the consomme ($4, not pictured) for dipping, and I highly recommend doing the same, though these tacos are so juicy and flavorful all on their own that you could easily enjoy them just as is. East 86th Street and Third Avenue, Upper East Side — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A brown pie with a light brown crust is set on a sunny teal blue table
Bean pie from Abu’s Homestyle Bakery
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Bean pie at Abu’s Homestyle Bakery

I swear I don’t normally celebrate nonsensical food holidays, but something about Sunday’s sunny weather and daylight savings had me out and about in search of some pie for Pi Day. I landed at Abu’s in Bed-Stuy and picked up a six-inch bean pie ($5.50), which has all of my favorite pie virtues rolled up into one foil container. The foundation of Abu’s bean pie is mashed up navy beans (learn more of the pie’s history and see how it is made here) that give it a soft, neutral flavor and consistency, and there’s a lightly crusted topping made of a fragrant spice mix layered over the beans. It’s not too sweet, which gives it endless versatility: This can be a breakfast pie, an afternoon snacking pie, or an after-dinner pie. It’s a perfect pie. 1184 Fulton Street, at the corner of Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Erika Adams, reporter

A bowl of vegetable ramen with kale noodles at 969 NYC Coffee
Veggie ramen at 969 NYC Coffee
Bao Ong / Eater New York

Veggie Ramen at 969 NYC Coffee

Whenever I pop into this Japanese cafe, the chef and owner Oda Mitsumine is always there and gives me a cheerful greeting before reaching into a glass case to tell me which onigiri is the freshest that day. I almost aways order a heart-shaped rice ball stuffed with golden tempura shrimp even when he tries to sell me on beef curry or bacon edamame. But on a breezy Sunday, I decided to change things up and ordered a bowl of the veggie ramen. “Give me seven minutes,” Mr. Mitsumine said. Sure enough, he emerged from behind a plastic curtain and gently placed the steaming bowl of soup filled with kale noodles, bamboo shoots, pickled ginger, bok choy, tofu skin, carrots, and napa cabbage on the counter. Each ingredient was perfectly cooked and the bouncy noodles had a nice vegetal note to pair with the slightly sweet tomato broth. It took me six minutes to finish. 37-61 80th Street, between Roosevelt and 37th Avenues, Jackson Heights — Bao Ong, editor


March 8

A metal container with something that looks like scrambled eggs and peppers, with a big fried dumpling on the side.
Ackee and saltfish at Unique J Kitchen and Bakery
Robert Sietsema / Eater New York

Ackee and saltfish at Unique J Kitchen and Bakery

Unique J is a gleaming new Jamaican carryout in the shadow of the D train, a block from the Sunset Park border in Borough Park, presided over by namesake Joan. (There’s a playground with a dog run just opposite for outdoor eating.) As you enter, a barbecue grill smokes with jerk chicken, and that chicken is pretty darn good, especially if spritzed with jerk sauce, and the oxtails a friend and I tried in a very dark gravy were equally as memorable. But the highlight of our meal lurked among several classic Jamaican breakfasts offered: ackee and saltfish ($9). Salt cod of the type that made long sea voyages possible centuries ago is tossed with the yellow fruit of the ackee. Native to West Africa, it’s considered the national fruit of Jamaica. Ackee is poisonous until cooked (at which point it’s perfectly safe), and ends up something like scrambled eggs. At Unique J’s, the breakfast is accompanied by ground provisions (tubers and the like) and fried dumplings, at your request. 4120 Tenth Avenue, at 42nd Street, Borough Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Spicy douhua at Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop
Spicy douhua at Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop
Bao Ong / Eater New York

Spicy douhua at Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop

Whenever I arrive at the last stop on the 7 train and step into the heart of Flushing, I’m most likely craving one of two dishes: the dumplings from White Bear or homemade douhua — a silky tofu pudding — served from a steel cart tucked into the front of Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop. I never bother to look at the handwritten menu taped to the plastic screens because I always end up ordering the spicy soybean curd ($2.50). On a chilly Sunday, I watched as a man ladled spoonfuls of soft tofu into a plastic pint container before spooning on a mix of soy sauce with chiles, bits of dried shrimp, scallions, and pickled mustard greens. There was no outdoor seating, so I just stood next to the people standing in front of the neighboring beauty parlor and inhaled my small serving of tofu. It felt like I had just tucked myself into a fluffy down comforter. 135-26 Roosevelt Avenue, between Main and Prince streets, Flushing — Bao Ong, editor

A black plastic bowl with Laksa in it which has white noodles, shrimp, and tofu
Laksa with shrimp at Native Noodles
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Laksa with shrimp at Native Noodles

At Washington Heights’ newly opened Singaporean restaurant Native Noodles, chef and owner Amy Pryke makes a laksa — the soupy noodle dish eaten in many parts of Southeast Asia — as a dry noodle preparation with a thick, creamy coconut sauce. Pryke’s take was a hit at the Queens Night Market, where she started Native Noodles as a food stall, and I can now see why. The yellow sauce fully coats and clings on to the thick rice noodles, and the shrimp and the crispy pieces of breaded tofu are cooked to perfection. Thin shards of cucumber give the whole dish a lovely crunch. 2129 Amsterdam Avenue, at West 166th Street, Washington Heights — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A green bowl filled with broth and noodles sits on a wooden table with a black tray of four sushi rolls off to the right side
Pork udon with a spicy tuna roll at Min Sushi
Erika Adams/Eater

Pork udon with a spicy tuna roll at Min Sushi

At the end of a long, cold day of apartment hunting this weekend, I crumbled into this cozy bowl of pork udon with a side of sushi from Min Sushi. The restaurant — a sophomore effort from chef Kelly Cho, an East Village restaurateur who first drew acclaim for her Japanese curry shop Suki — features a menu of udon and sushi meal sets that is built with to-go customers in mind. The pork udon that I picked up featured noodles that were perfectly thick and chewy, with no shortage of deliciously fatty slivers of pork bobbing in the broth. The meal ($13) came with a four-piece spicy tuna roll paired with several dipping sauces that I definitely ran a few noodles through after the sushi disappeared all too quickly. 32 Saint Marks Place, near Second Avenue, East Village — Erika Adams, reporter


March 1

A white styrofoam container with a red tinted filled pair of round tortillas.
Mulita and consomme at Casa Birria
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mulita and consomme at Casa Birria

Mega-popular birria may be destined to reach every neighborhood in town. Casa Birria — a truck based in Astoria — recently pulled up to the corner of 86th Street and Third Avenue on the Upper East Side, offering birria exclusively in several forms. The recipe for this bright red, chile-braised beef continues to evolve here, and someday we may see a distinct New York style. Casa Birria’s shows Pueblan influences in the use of white crumbly cotija cheese rather than yellow cheeses like cheddar or American, and the offer of a giant, folded-over Pueblan-style quesadilla. The mulita ($4) is the thing to get, topped agreeably with pickled purple onions and spicy red salsa, adding a tartness and further squishiness to the mulita, but making it harder to dip in the consomme ($4). No matter, sip the consomme between bites of mulita. Southwest corner of East 86th Street and Third Avenue, Upper East Side Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Three different dishes in a steel lunch box from the Indian restaurant Khiladi placed on a brown table
The dabba lunch at Khiladi
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Lunch dabba at Khiladi

East Village Indian restaurant Khiladi launched a dabba — the word for tiffin in several Indian languages and often referencing a tiered, steel lunchbox — at the end of January, and I finally got to sample one this past week. Part of the dabba’s allure is nostalgia — growing up just outside of New Delhi, in India, I remember my dad taking one of these dabbas to work every day — but the other, perhaps more exciting aspect for me, is that you really don’t know what you’re going to get from one dabba to the next. For this particular dabba, chef and owner Sruthi Chowdary had prepared Andhra chicken fry — a spicy crispy fried chicken dish with a crunchy topping of curry leaves and mustard seeds — along with a milder chicken curry cooked with fenugreek leaves, and a side of roti and an egg pulao. The dabba ($25 plus $20 deposit for the steel tiffin) is meant to feed one, but the portions are generous enough for a two-person lunch. 175 Avenue B, at East 11th Street, East Village — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A decorated bag of coffee beans, an envelope, and a wrapped cylinder of candy set on a wooden windowsill
Coffee, haw flakes, and a sweet note from Heart of Dinner and Coffee Project New York
Erika Adams/Eater

Coffee from Heart of Dinner and Coffee Project New York

I’m taking some liberties in the column this week to instead call out the best thing I drank, which was a coffee roast ($20) developed by nonprofit Heart of Dinner in collaboration with Coffee Project New York. The Colombian single-origin coffee, called Po Po & Us, is a light, soft roast developed to bring out notes of caramel, pear, mandarin oranges, and haw-flakes, a sweet Chinese candy. I’m a serial coffee dunker and this mild, easy-drinking roast paired well with everything I dip into my coffee throughout the day, from cookies to breads to the roll of haw flakes that came as an unexpected treat with the coffee. I also can’t wait to repurpose the bag that the beans came in, which was gorgeously decorated by designer Andrew Teoh. All of the proceeds from each coffee order go to support Heart of Dinner, which assembles and delivers care packages of food in illustrated bags with handwritten notes for Asian elders in NYC. The collaboration is currently sold out online but keep an eye on Heart of Dinner’s Instagram feed for any restocks. — Erika Adams, reporter

Ground pork and cilantro sit above a crimson broth in a black plastic bowl
Chongqing Xiao Mian’s spicy noodle soup

Spicy noodle soup from Chongqing Xiao Mian

Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic as the various one year anniversaries of the pandemic approached. The other night, while walking around Hell’s Kitchen, I happened upon Chongqing Xiao Mian, one of the last places I remember eating before I got sick with COVID-19 last winter. The venue’s signature soup, I’m happy to report, remains as fantastic as ever. A pile of xiao mian — stark white noodles — sit beneath a scattering of ground pork and bright green cilantro. I like to admire color contrasts before drowning everything in a crimson mala broth. The noodles were as firm as ever, while the broth was light, round, and spicy enough to induce a cough or two. It warmed me up nicely. 796 Ninth Avenue, near 53rd StreetRyan Sutton, chief critic

Seasonal hamantaschen at Breads Bakery
Hamantaschen at Breads Bakery
Bao Ong / Eater New York

Hamantaschen at Breads Bakery

A few years ago, I decided I would celebrate Purim by tackling a home baking project. The mission? Hamantaschen, the triangle-shaped cookies traditionally filled with ingredients such as chocolate, poppy seeds, and prunes. Let’s just say nothing ever ended up on my Instagram feed and it only confirmed that baking is not my strong suit. Luckily, Breads Bakery is never far away. This year, the shop rolled out some new sweet and savory combinations, from coconut lime to tikka masala. The short bread-like consistency of the cookies are never fall-apart soft or too dry and each corner is perfectly pinched. It inspired me to take another try at baking the treats — until I took another bite and realized I should just leave it to the professionals. Three locations in Manhattan — Bao Ong, editor

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